Friday, August 13, 2010

Fire and Ice

Seconds - 335
Ben Azevedo

Chapter 3

Pompeii II.


Sweat ran down Vito’s face, arms, and legs. He was reasonably certain sweat was running down his sweat.


Vito knew he had seconds to find a Shelter, before the eruption caught him, or the ashy air choked him. He was bolting at breakneck speed down the streets of Pompeii II.


It was getting harder to see. Vito knew the city’s layout better than most, but even that wouldn’t save him if he were blind.


Just ahead, light. Through the roaring of the volcano, voices. Vito skidded past an abandoned market stand, vaulted a barrel, and dove into the flickering light.

Inside the Mk IV ForceShield, it was almost as noisy as outside. The roar of too many people packed too close together assaulted Vito’s senses as he made his way to the obligatory bar for a drink. That had been too close. The bartender barely glanced at Vito’s soot covered figure before turning to the next customer. Here, in Pompeii II, it was as common as not to be covered in ash.

Whoever had decided to name this city had a poor sense of humor. Sure, it was the safest location in the Viciano Mountains, but why even put a city here? And of course it would be named after a city that had drowned in a volcano in ancient Earth history. Pompeii II was a border city at best, pushing humanity’s ability to survive Element’s elements to the limits. It served as a trading post between Atlantis and the rest of the continent by giving traders a rest stop before they crossed the Vicianos.

It was a hell (literally) of a rest stop before a hell of a journey. Crossing the Viciano Mountains required a special kind of insanity reserved for traders. Of course, there were planes, but the mountains were so high they forced planes into the upper atmosphere of Element, which was a constantly raging superstorm. Flying to full orbit and back was deemed too expensive.

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